For all of you, fans reading, you probably have heard of the Mecca of Otakuism, Akihabara, or Akiba for short. If any of you visit Japan someday, you probably want to come. Or for those of that have been to and/or reside in Japan, you likely have visited. And with how culturally impacting the district has been, it was bound to get portrayed in games and anime. First debuting on the PSP in 2011, the game became a big hit in Japan and a cult hit to international audiences. Then upon the start of 2017, the franchise got its anime adaptation by Studio Gonzo.
Akiba’s Trip The Animation tells the tale of Tamotsu Denkigai, your typical 18-year-old Akihabara shopping otaku. All he wanted was to buy a rare sentai figure but little does he know, he finds himself involved in a war for the fate of Akihabara. Now joining forces with Mayonaka and Arisa, they take on the evil forces of the Bugged Ones, who wish to destroy Akihabara. Despite their great strength, they have a simple weakness. If in the event they possess a human, all they have to do is strip the possessed human down to their underwear and they instantly perish. Unfortunately, Tamotsu and Mayonaka as Bugged Ones are subjected to this weakness and must be careful. Though this series is rather short, it presents its own unique cast of characters. So for today’s top 10 list, we give you the Top 10 Electrifying Otaku Akiba’s Trip Characters.
10. Professor Tasujin Ratu
If looks could be deceiving, it would certainly be the technology scientist from India, Tasujin Ratu. As she resides with Tamotsu and Mayonaka, the professor is always on top of her research and developing the latest tech. But if there is anything she loves, it is sure snacking. We all know certain sects of anime fans love Japanese sweets such as Pocky and the professor’s love for typical Japanese sweets is what makes her a fine addition to this list. As a matter of fact, you can find sweets for just about anything in Akihabara and she happens to have them all.
Though Mayonaka and Tamotsu are the true heroes of Akihabara, there is still the Akihabara Vigilante Brigade. In real life, Japanese neighborhoods actually do have volunteer patrols though mostly conducted by the elderly. But due to the youth that Akihabara attracts, it’s only natural that the streets be patrolled by the young as well. One of their top members is a young lady named Suidobashi. Despite her small size, she is very authoritative and commanding to regular muscle bound humans, but still susceptible to the attacks of the Bugged Ones.
Even so, she takes her role seriously and goes as far as dressing up in military fatigues. In fact, some real life Akihabara patrol groups do dress up in military garbs to feel in tune with their roles and to reflect the fun Akihabara can offer. For some of you who may not be familiar, Akihabara is also a great place to buy some air guns and other military replica weaponry (though getting them home on the plane is a different matter), and Suidobashi and her crew are a great representation of this factor that is underemphasized to non-Japanese residents.
8. Shi Show
At number 8 is Shi Show, a word play on Shishou, meaning master. Shi Show is actually Arisa’s original Kung Fu master. In case some of you readers are interested in visiting Akihabara (or those that have and already in the know), a good number of their big name shops such as Yodobashi Camera actually sell some of their products tax-free to foreign visitors! When Shi Show visits, he actually takes advantage of this particular condition when he buys some rice cookers. So if in the event you stop by, have your passport ready to show at the register and you can save off of Japan’s 8% sales tax (bound to go up to 10% in the next few years, we can’t say for sure since it keeps getting delayed).
Due to his amazing Kung Fu abilities, he was possessed by a Bugged One and has to face Arisa, his prized pupil, in a professional wrestling match. While Japanese style is more sports oriented, the episode’s match pays homage to the American style of being more emphasized on the dramatics by going as far as spoofing chants of holy $#*+ on extremely painful looking moves (such as chair shots) in the original Japanese version!
If Street Fighter legend Daigo Umehara has an anime equivalent, it would probably have to be Matsuko from episode 5. While some characters represent the love of anime, computer customizing, and military-like toys in Akihabara’s many sub-cultures, Matsuko is only to represent the area’s gaming community at arcades. At the beginning of the episode, she makes easy work of Tamotsu on Street Fighter II Turbo at a local arcade. But what’s the bad news? She happens to be possessed by a Bugged One and Tamotsu must stop her again in a Street Fighter V tournament (and must win to save his sister who is kidnapped in the episode).
In fact, some of her tactics do pay homage to some moments from actual game tournaments such as Daigo’s comeback against Justin Wong with the use of Chun-Li. But as the real Matsuko shows, she is very passionate about Street Fighter in a world where arcades still exist while they have gone the way of video rental in other countries.
If there were to be the ultimate senpai in the world of Akihabara, it would have to be Kage-san. He is designed in a rather childish manner, but he shows great wisdom in assisting Tamotsu in the world of Akihabara. If there is any potential danger, he is there to give some small warning but very rarely does Tamotsu take him seriously though he values his company. His design is something of an homage to cartoon characters you may see on warning signs in construction sites in Japan with his round face, simple cute smile face, and his clothing.
In addition, he is able to get his hands on some rare items showing that he is wise in the ways of Otakuism, and probably has the money to buy some certain items that can range in the six figure digits in context to yen. Though he may not contribute much, but his Otakuness is enough to rank him on this list and you can probably find a guy like him in Akihabara who may be willing to help you.
Placing in the middle of this list is Pyuko, Tamotsu’s custom computer that came with an AI as its OS. Pyuko is a parody of how female artificial characters can be love interests to an owner, in this case, Tamotsu. Though her form on the computer monitor takes that of your typical cute anime girl, her physical form is bulky (being attached to other computer parts) in a comedic matter that is appropriate to the series. With her great artificial intelligence and dedication to Tamotsu, they made the ultimate combination.
Unfortunately, she departs at the end of her debut in episode 6 but manages to come back for one last battle in the finale. Her character is a representation of how Akihabara is not just a place for pop culture goods, but its origins as the Electric Town where you can buy computer parts. So if you want your own AI like Pyuko, maybe you can find it in the magical land of Akihabara.
4. Matome Mayonaka
Ranking in at number 4 is one of our co-female leads, Matome Mayonaka. If it weren’t for her, Tamotsu would probably remain dead. After a fated kiss when he became collateral damage in her war with her fellow Bugged Ones, she brings him back as one of her own kind. Due to not being human, in addition to her super strength, her lifespan is double the average of a regular human. While she still looks like she could be in her late-teens, she is over 70 years old! While her motivation to protect Akihabara is not from being an Otaku, she fights to protect the happiness of the shoppers of this wonderful Mecca.
However, her decision to ally with the humans has caused great rift with her family, who wish to eradicate the world of the area along with Otakus. Though she is not that active as an Otaku, she brings more smiles to people’s faces by participating in a part-time idol trio with Arisa and Niwaka.
3. Niwaka Denkigai
At number 3 is Miwaka, the little sister of the series’ co-lead, Tamotsu. Though she was never turned into a bugged one, she does play her role as a supporting character. She is always there to cheer for her brother and participate in patrolling duties to protect Akihabara. Due to Tamotsu’s change into a Bugged One, he can no longer leave Akihabara so she sticks around to make sure he’s ok for their parents (and to lend some money now and then).
Like any other Akihabara shopper, she shows her love by collecting figures of magical girl heroines, which became the subject of one episode. Last, she is also part of an idol group that consists of her, Mayonaka, and Arisa.
2. Tamotsu Denkigai
Though Tamotsu is the lead character, he is put at number 2. Tamotsu is a great representation of Otakus everywhere, it doesn’t matter if viewers are Japanese or not. In fact, his last name Denkigai is a word play on Electric Town, which is the nickname of Akihabara. Throughout the duration of Akiba’s Trip, Tamotsu is not only dedicated to protecting Akihabara but by shopping at local shops and even working a part-time job (which happens to be in control of their enemies a majority of their time).
He likes buying figures, eating out at Carl’s, Jr., and even buying his own custom computer. These are all things anybody can realistically do in Akihabara. He is our key into this world without having to go there. But put him in the battle, he is never hesitant to apply himself to protect his present home. He is idealistic to a comedic fault, but his intentions are noble and admirable.
1. Arisa Ahokainen
At number one happens to be Finland’s own Arisa Ahokainen. She is a traveling teenager who came to Akihabara to study Otaku culture. Despite being in her late-teens, she already has a college education and is a master martial artist to the point that she can go toe-to-toe with most Bugged Ones. In addition to her skills, she has an amazing figure and is not subjected to the weaknesses of the Bugged Ones so being stripped to her underwear and/or nothing at all is a common re-occurrence throughout the series.
Even so, with her education, she seems to lack some modesty but accepts losing her clothes is all part of the job. She is friendly with the Electric Mayonnaise Vigilante Brigade and is willing to fight for the freedom of Akihabara without hesitation. Last, one can’t help but find her accent in the Japanese version to be cute. To most Japanese people, that is how Japanese people like to mock foreign accents trying to speak Japanese. Though such attempts can be racist in places like the US, in Japan, it’s just part of the norm.
Each character shows what Akihabara can mean to Otakus in their own ways. For some, it is protecting their home while for others, it is a place to have a great time. In a realistic sense, anybody trying to ruin Akihabara is the worst but if that ever happens, some groups will be there to defend them. Let’s hope they can do it with the same passion as Tamotsu and his friends and other vigilante groups. They all represent the best and worst in Otakuism and their passions for Akihabara all come from a realistic passion any dedicated Japanese pop culture fan can share.